When you take someone to court, you need to prepare what is called a "statement of the case" to be presented to the court clerks and eventually the judge who will decide your case. The judge needs this information so that she can review the details of the case prior to the court hearing and be prepared with a line of questioning. This statement can also help determine the result of a case even before the plaintiff and defendant show up in court. Since the plaintiff is the person who files the case, she is required to submit the statement.
Briefly describe the background of your relationship with the defendant if applicable to the case. For example, if you are suing someone for an unpaid loan, explain how you know the person (family member, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend) and why you decided to grant the loan. Include information about your own personal background (character, education, experience) if you believe it will help your case and make you seem more reputable to the judge.
Describe the incident, including dates, times, the names of parties involved and the loss that was incurred. Identify any other people who were present during the event or time of agreement.
State clearly the total amount that you believe you are due, including the loss, additional damages, pain and suffering, court fees and other costs you incurred due to this matter. If the judge rules in your favor, she will only consider the amount you outlined on your statement of case when making a final decision. Discuss exactly why you believe the defendant owes you the amount that you are seeking.
Identify the evidence that you have to support your case. You can simply list the evidence, because you will be given an opportunity to describe it in further detail in court. Reference any contracts that you have with the defendant in the statement of the case.
Anticipate any defense that the other party may have, and place an anticipatory rebuttal in the statement of case. For example, if you think the person will claim that the loan was a gift, reiterate that you have a signed agreement or give a reason why the idea that you gave that person the money (or items) as a gift is ludicrous.
- In advance of your court hearing, study your statement of case to make sure that you have your story straight. You do not ever want to contradict something that you wrote on your statement of case because it will almost always hurt your credibility with the judge.